Summary: Lent 3(C) - Do not be ignorant about the past: We learn that God’s examples warn us and God’s strength saves us.
DO NOT BE IGNORANT ABOUT THE PAST (Outline)
March 15, 2009 -- LENT 3
INTRO: Today’s text opens with the words: “I do not want you to be ignorant…” These are fighting words for most people. Ignorant is a polite word for stupid. Paul is saying that he does not want the readers or hearers of this letter to be stupid. No one likes to hear these words. The Lord is reminding us today to pay attention to the past. We study the past every time we open the Bible. Scriptures contains writings from thousands of years ago. BUT the Holy Scriptures are also still our living and enduring Word of God! "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endur-ance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope"(ROMANS 15:4). It is this living and enduring Word of God that we always want to remember and then learn for our lives today. DO NOT BE IGNORANT ABOUT THE PAST. I. God’s examples warn us. II. God’s strength saves us.
I. GOD’S EXAMPLES WARN US
A. Verse 1. Israel came out of Egypt to the Red Sea. God divided the sea, they escaped on dry ground.
1. Verse 2. The Israelites were not immersed in the sea, they were not dunked under the cloud.
2. Verses 3,4. They enjoyed manna in the morning and water from the rock, Christ the Rock.
B. Verse 5. God was very displeased. Over 40 years more than 600,000 died during the wilderness trip.
1. Verse 7. They worshiped the golden calf. Aaron made this idol. They danced in worship.
2. Verse 8. Men slept with the Moabite women. They stayed to worship their false gods.
3. Verse 9. Israel complained about dying in the desert. God sent snakes to show them death.
4. Verse 10. Manna was not good enough. The people complained. God’s judgment came.
C. Verses 6,11a. All of these examples of disobedience and judgment stand as God’s warnings for all.
D. We look closely at these examples. We listen closely to these words of warning. We see ourselves as idolaters, immoral people, complainers, and grumblers. Sin is sin. The attractions of this life are very often only distractions. Worldly attractions distract us from God’s heavenly blessings. Our world offers wealth, power, and glory as the answer for all of life’s problems. The things that we can see and feel and touch are seldom the same things our God offers. The examples of God’s people wandering in the wilderness serve as warnings for us today. "Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them"(DEUTERONOMY 11:16). Do not be ignorant about the past, brothers.
E. Pay attention to the media accounts of disasters. Very often you will soon discover that every story lists the monetary cost of each disaster. They try to estimate how much the earthquake (or fire or flood) costs in damages. Putting a dollar figure on everything hardens our thinking. Each disaster also has a human toll of suffering, heartache, sorrow, and grief. Money easily changes our compassionate thinking into cool, calculating contemplation. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 TIMOTHY 6:10). There are many examples of successful men of industry who are saddened at the end of their lives. Andrew Carnegie (responsible for countless libraries) desired joy and happiness his money could not buy.
F. Look at the examples of Scriptures. Most of the heroes of faith fell at one time or another. These are warnings for us as believers today. King David committed adultery and murder for his own sinful self-ishness. King Solomon turned his heart away from the Lord because of his foreign wives. Peter denied the Lord Jesus three times. The disciples went to sleep time and time again in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are no different. Jesus’ words from the past are still living and enduring for us today. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (MATTHEW 26:41). The path to hell is paved with good intentions. Our body is weak. Pray for God’s strength.
DO NOT BE IGNORANT ABOUT THE PAST. God’s examples serve as warnings.
II. GOD’S STRENTH SAVES US.
A. Paul gives this quick and very brief history of Israel for a specific purpose: warning examples.
1. Verse 6 & 11. All of these things are examples written down to warn us to avoid all evil.
2. The believers at Corinth lived in the fulfillment of the ages: Christ the Messiah lived.